UFC Vegas 41 is set to go down later today (Sat., Oct. 23, 2021) live from inside UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada, streaming live online exclusively via ESPN+. Headlining the event will be a
middleweight catchweight Light Heavyweight fight between former 185-pound title contenders Paulo Costa and Marvin Vettori. In the co-main event, Grant Dawson battles Rick Glenn, while Seungwoo Choi battles Alex Caceres in Featherweight action.
It was a wild ride to get to where we are today, but Costa and Vettori will throw down later today in “Sin City.” Costa drew the ire of Vettori — and the MMA world in general — when he casually admitted that he wouldn’t be making the 186-pound weight limit because he was well over 200 pounds two days from the event. After some back-and-forth between the two competitors, they ultimately agreed to fight at a Catchweight of 195 pounds. In the end, UFC officials green-lit the fight at that weight, though it ultimately cost Paulo 20 percent of his fight purse, which will now go to Vettori. Hours later, it was revealed that the fight would then proceed at Light Heavyweight. It’s odd to say the least because I can’t fathom why Costa is calling the shots here and UFC is seemingly okay with all of this.
Costa suffered the first loss of his MMA career at the hands of current UFC Middleweight champion, Israel Adesanya, at UFC 253 one year ago. Since then, his return has been delayed for one reason or another and we feared he’d bow out of a scheduled fight one more time. Thankfully, Vettori was willing to play ball to let the fight go on. Now, Costa will need a special performance to try and get back in the good graces of fans and employer alike.
Vettori’s last appearance also saw him come up short in his bid to dethrone “The Last Stylebender” at UFC 263, snapping his five-fight win streak. Now, he will look to get back on the horse and into the win column against a fellow heavy hitter. And that is what this fight is all about. Unlike Adesanya, Vettori and Costa won’t be confused as MMA technicians. Not to say they aren’t skilled, but they prefer to get into brawls, which I fully expect this to be. What that boils down to is who will get the first big hit in to clean the other’s clock. Either way, we should be in for a heck of a fight and if we are being 100 percent honest, all of the weight drama adds a bit more intrigue to it all.
The Fight Night event will go head-to-head with Bellator 269, which features the return of Fedor Emelianenko facing Timothy Johnson in his home country of Russia. While that’s great for fight fans to have options, it might not be so hot for UFC seeing how the card isn’t all that great to begin with.
Original Card Vs. Actual Card:
Aaron Phillips and Kris Moutinho were set to throw down on this card but after Moutinho bowed out, he was replaced by Jonathan Martinez. Philips then withdrew from the bout due to illness. Zviad Lazishvili ultimately got the call on three day’s notice. A welterweight bout between Dwight Grant and Gabriel Green was set for this card before Green was replaced by Francisco Trinaldo after he bowed out for undisclosed reasons. Alan Patrick and Mason Jones were lined up to fight on this card but after Patrick bowed out, he was replaced by newcomer David Onama.
No major injuries reported.
David Onama will make his UFC debut on shot notice against Alan Patrick as mentioned earlier, another example of another up-and-comer knowing how to make the right decision when opportunity knocks. Undefeated at 8-0, Onama has finished all eight of his opponents, five of them in the first round, two in under a minute. Onama is guaranteed fireworks, now he hopes to make the best of his opportunity on the biggest stage of them all.
The Flyweight division could use all the new blood it can get its hands on, and UFC has a great prospect coming in with Daniel Lacerda set to take his first fight under the promotion’s bright lights against Jeff Molina, who has won eight straight. Lacerda did make it all the way up to a title bout in Shooto Fight, but unfortunately injured his shoulder shortly after the fight began.
After coming up short on Dana White’s “Contender Series,” Maria Oliveira went on to win two straight fights to get the call up to the big leagues. She’s competed all over the globe in several organizations so she has the experience to give her foe, Tabatha Ricci, a tough night at the office. Ricci came up short in her own UFC debut, so she is eager to pick up her first win inside the Octagon, too.
Undefeated (8-0) Bantamweight prospect Zviad Lazishvili will make his UFC debut on the undercard against Jonathan Martinez, who is coming off a knockout loss to Davey Grant earlier this year. Of his eight wins, Lazishvili has won five of them via submission, so it’s no secret what he prefers to do once the cage door slams shut.
How The ‘Prelims’ Look:
We’ve already discussed several undercard bouts in the section prior, so let’s dive in to see the remaining bouts. Jun Yong Park threw up a dud in his UFC debut, but bounced back nicely by winning three in a row. He will go for number four against Gregory Rodrigues, who has also won three straight.
Jamie Pickett and Laureano Staropoli will collide in a Middleweight bout. Pickett has lost his first two fights inside the Octagon so he needs a win to convince UFC matchmakers to keep him around. Staropoli, meanwhile, is on a worse streak losing three in a row, which means the loser of this fight could very well finds himself out of the promotion.
Khama Worthy is looking to snap his two-fight losing streak when he takes on Jai Herbert who, you guessed it, has also lost two straight. Herbert came in with a lot of promise after winning 10 of his first 11 fights. But once he got to the big leagues, he just couldn’t hit them out of the park. Both of these men are in need of wins in order to preserve their UFC dream even longer.
Who Needs A Win Badly:
Randa Markos is in desperate need of a win after losing four in a row. Markos hasn’t won inside the Octagon since Oct. 2019, so if she loses consecutive fight number five against Livia Renata Souza she is almost guaranteed a one-way ticket to Splitsville. Markos was never really in contention for a UFC title, but she always won enough to hang around. Now, she is on the verge of losing her spot on the bloated UFC roster.
Interest Level: 6 of 10
The main event fight between Costa and Vettori should be fire, and the level of anticipation to see these two heavy hitters collide inside the cage only intensified over the last few days due to all the scale drama.
In the co-main event, Grant Dawson will face Ricky Glenn in a Lightweight bout. Dawson is scorching hot at the moment with eight straight wins, including winning his first five fights inside the Octagon. He’s already put the division on notice but he wants more by taking out Glenn.
Jessica Rose-Clark is attempting to collect her first back-to-back wins in three years when she takes on Joselyne Edwards, who is coming off a loss to Karol Rosa, Plus, Nicolae Negumereanu and Ike Villanueva will collide in Light Heavyweight action.
Dwight Grant will take on Francisco Trinaldo in a Welterweight bout, while Alex Caceres battles Seungwoo Choi in a Featherweight fight. Caceres has quietly won four straight and if he can get his fifth win in a row, he could find himself moving up the rankings. Choi has won three straight, so he isn’t going to make it easy for Caceres because he has grand plans of his own to infiltrate the Top 15.
UFC Vegas 41 Main Event On ESPN+:
205 lbs.: Paulo Costa vs. Marvin Vettori
UFC Vegas 41 Main Card On ESPN+ (4 p.m. ET):
155 lbs.: Grant Dawson vs. Ricky Glenn
135 lbs.: Jessica-Rose Clark vs. Joselyne Edwards
145 lbs.: Seungwoo Choi vs. Alex Caceres
170 lbs.: Dwight Grant vs. Francisco Trinaldo
205 lbs.: Nicolae Negumereanu vs. Ike Villanueva
UFC Vegas 41 Prelims Card On ESPN+ (1 p.m. ET):
185 lbs.: Jun Yong Park vs. Gregory Rodrigues
115 lbs.: Maria Oliveira vs. Tabatha Ricci
185 lbs.: Jamie Pickett vs. Laureano Staropoli
155 lbs.: Jai Herbert vs. Khama Worthy
145 lbs.: Daniel Lacerda vs. Jeff Molina
115 lbs.: Randa Markos vs. Livinha Souza
155 lbs.: Mason Jones vs. David Onama
*Fight card, bout order and number of fights remain subject to change due to COVID-19.*